Date of Award

12-2017

Culminating Project Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Educational Administration and Leadership, K-12: Ed.D.

Department

Educational Administration and Higher Education

College

School of Education

First Advisor

Roger Worner

Second Advisor

James Johnson

Third Advisor

Nicholas Miller

Fourth Advisor

Kay Worner

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

Keywords and Subject Headings

Four-Day School Week

Abstract

Abstract

Statement of The Problem

Each year public school districts throughout the United States experience difficult decisions about how to allocate their limited educational funds. When the economy weakens, heightened consideration is given to methods by which school districts can more efficiently use their financial resources to make up for decreased funding (Gaines, 2008). One cost cutting method that some states and school districts have adopted is to retain the number of instructional hours in each school week but to shorten the length of the school week from five days to four days (Griffith, 2011).

Minnesota districts applying for authorization to employ a four-day week option have encountered opposition from state leadership and the education commissioner (Steward, 2015). An investigation of the literature reveals that no recent studies of the four-day school week have been conducted in the state of Minnesota. Additionally, national research on this topic is scarce (Idaho Education News, Dec. 2015).

Study Purpose and Overview

The purpose of this study was to examine two rural Minnesota school districts that were employing a four-day school week during the 2016-17 school year: to ascertain support among school board members, administrators, teachers, and parents for the four-day schedule. Further, the study intended to gather perceptions from these stakeholder groups regarding advantages of, disadvantages of, and changes (if any) in their school districts’ four-day school week. The following research questions were designed to support these aims:

  1. How supportive were school board members, administrators, teachers, and parents of select school districts’ four-day school week?
  2. What did school board members, administrators, teachers, and parents perceive as advantages of their school districts’ four-day school week?
  3. What did school board members, administrators, teachers, and parents perceive as disadvantages of their school districts’ four-day school week?
  4. What changes, if any, would the school board, administrators, teachers, and parents identify that would increase their support of the school districts’ four-day school week?

In order to address the research questions, the researcher created an online survey that gathered data from two school districts, totaling over 450 respondents’ perceptions of the advantages and disadvantages of the four-day school week schedule. In order to enrich study findings, one-on-one interviews were conducted with seven respondents who volunteered to expand upon survey questions with the researcher.

Key Findings

Although the four-day school week began as a means for school districts to reduce costs and save money, the study indicated there were other advantages to the four-day school week for both teachers and families, including providing additional time for teacher/lesson planning, allowing families more quality time together, and increased school attendance.

Comments/Acknowledgements

Acknowledgement

The completion of this dissertation has been a journey that required persistence, guidance, encouragement and self-confidence. The process of completing a doctoral degree has been a rewarding experience both personally and professionally.

A special thank you to my professors and especially to my committee members: Dr. James Johnson, Dr. Nicholas Miller, Dr. Kay Worner and Dr. Roger Worner. I appreciate the many hours they spent reviewing my dissertation drafts and providing me with constructive feedback.

Being a member of Cohort V, was an amazing experience for me, because I was a part of a very special group of people. I loved every weekend we spent together and the drive from Minneapolis to St. Cloud was worth every minute because I was able to learn from each of you and made some forever friends.

My parents, Ken and Kathy Hanson, have always provided me with the love, support and encouragement required to navigate through difficult and challenging times in my life. My mother, Kathy, spent many hours reading and re-reading this dissertation throughout the entire process. Her enthusiasm throughout the journey kept me motivated and excited to continue the writing process.

Thank you to my sister, Melissa, who told me time and time again…“You are a writer.” She would tell me this even when I told her that I did not want to write. Thank you for providing sweet treats and plenty of diet coke during my long hours of writing.

Finally, I have to acknowledge, Dr. Roger Worner. I will forever be grateful for his support throughout this dissertation journey. He was my compass and provided the guidance and encouragement to complete this body of work.

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